Mondo QT Home Mission QTOn The QT ArchivePEEP Magazinedeep qtQT Special FeaturesContactPrivacy Policy
deep qt logo

Enter keywords to search all QT sites
Nihil Obstat
April 8, 2005: There's plenty of good in the world. There's also plenty of the other. Even those who believe Pope John Paul II lives in Heaven can't help but mourn his absence on earth. While simultaneously experiencing gifts he left behind.

To doubt good exists would mean being willfully blind; a Pangloss in reverse. The good is easily seen in myriad day-to-day interchanges between people, but more difficult to discern in the larger actions of government. Not that good doesn't exist in that sphere. But copious grains of salt must be taken when considering what Caesar sets before us.

Pope John Paul II repeatedly thwarted political leaders who hoped to obtain his perpetual nihil obstat. Just when he seemed solidly in the camp of either right or left, he'd whip the ideological rug from beneath their feet and cite a higher authority. To political leaders who either believe there is no authority higher than themselves, or if there is, they are its earthly manifestation, this was decidedly aggravating. Many a worldly pomp departed fuming from an audience with the Pope. A few days later pundits in pomp support publications, or on pomp-talk TV, would lecture the Pope. Telling him to "get real". Thank goodness he never listened and stayed unreal. Though really real might be a better way to put it.

In the United States, Pope John Paul's commitment to traditional Catholic sexual morality made him the anger object of a left that now defines itself by bedroom issues. And initially the right thought anti communism was going to make him their boy. Till he came down hard on the excesses of capitalism. The Pope's last big affront to the right was when he called the Iraq War by its correct name: unjustifiable.

Speaking of which, perhaps lack of public support for President Bush's proposed Social Security reforms is partly due to the fact that his main justification for invading Iraq-- the presence of WMD-- was at best based on wrong info. Americans can accept foreign policy based on a mistake, or even a Big Lie, but when a major overhaul of a popular domestic program is pushed by someone with a record of gaining public approval via misinformation, they hear danger danger Will Robinson. Plus promises of the financial benefits of privatization are reminiscent of expectations that apres Iraq, gas was going to flow like cheap wine. While to my knowledge President Bush himself never made this promise, pomp support groupies certainly fed that assumption.

If missing WMD does figure into rejection of the Bush Social Security plan it would be a case of chickens coming home to roost in a different coop.

Like many, I'm undecided about how Social Security problems should be remedied. Once upon a time I'd have had more faith in privatization. And in the days before that, big government. Now I believe our government should be radically smaller. And that taxpayers might have more natural social security if they weren't paying for items such as revitalizing Iraq and HUD fraud ad nauseam. But I also believe government can do some things well and should provide a safety net for the truly needy. And that what government does do, should be open to scrutiny by the public. Increasingly, public corruption stems from non government agencies working with government ones; providing public services but operating behind the curtain of privatization.

But enough of typical blog topics. Let's get down to nitty gritties on some local fronts.

In Springfield, Massachusetts almost every second home seems to hold an X public servant under house arrest. Delivery services clean up but overall, the scene is getting stale. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Welch has a creative solution. At the early April sentencing of X city employee and school lunch man Alfonso Carrano, who stole payments made by vending machine companies to the school department, Welch suggested Carrano be forced to stand in front of the school he robbed wearing a sandwich board declaiming his crimes. U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor didn't grant the request, but did say he might require sandwich boards to be worn by future corruption convictees. Though U.S. Attorney Welch modestly ceded his fashion inspiration came from another federal case in California, U.S. Attorney Christopher "Shackles" Christie in New Jersey may soon have to defend his title as the Iron Chef of white collar crime wear.

Also starring in Sentenced in Springfield is X police officer Chester Ardolino, whose brother Anthony Ardolino was chief of staff to former Mayor Mike Albano. In late March, Chet Ardolino got a package of house arrest, community service and probation for taking part in a real estate scam allegedly launched in the City Hall office of Anthony Ardolino. As "special police liaison" to the Mayor, Chet often hung in the hall. Whether on a hook or a hangar is unknown. The scam was the usual dummy up documents, inflate value & flip thing. Anthony Ardolino allegedly received a third of the profits just cause he was friends with Mayor Mike. Once Chet Ardolino wraps up house arrest and sallies forth for community service, he might be super model material for a sandwich board.

While the Ardolino mortgage fraud was relatively small spud, on April Fool's Day arrests were made in connection to another much larger Springfield real estate fraud case. One which has been unspooling since last Fall. A multi million dollar deal cut from familiar cloth-- involving a man of the cloth. It goes like this: HUD slums. Straw buyers with no down payment & phoney proof of income. Non existent rehabs. Fake appraisals & closing documents. Participants paid in cash & hidden interests in yet more deals. Inflated mortgage loans from out of state lenders. Straw buyers default. FHA aka taxpayer picks up tab.

Among the 13 indicted to date is Pastor Paul J. Starnes of the Morning Star Church. Owner and operator of Trinity Mortgage Brokerage, Inc. One time partner in Trinity Land, Co., which bought and sold properties in the Springfield area. Also indicted is illegal alien Wilfred Changasie of Guyana. Recently of Springfield. Who allegedly worked his way up from being a mere gleaner of straw buyers, to full partner. Another indictee is attorney Albert Innarelli. He allegedly served as the primary, though not only, real estate attorney for the flips.

What with the school guy, the cop, the pastor, the lawyer(s) and the entrepreneurial illegal alien, recent events in Springfield involve folks from such a broad social spectrum that one wonders if the wearing o' the sandwich boards in Springfield might produce infernally crowded sidewalks.

OK. The corruption level in Springfield, Massachusetts is a tad extreme. But not unique. See some cities in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. In fact, look at urban centers all over the USA and see what you see. Old friend graft of course. Yet equally hard to miss is the massive amount of HUD bucked mortgage fraud. Why? Because nihil obstat. Not only is a whole lot of potential social security being flipped into the hands of crooks, but more people across a broad social spectrum are being encouraged to become crooks by the ease of doing so. Since cities have more concentrations of HUD properties, the impact of mortgage fraud is also more concentrated. Urban real estate practices aren't born bad-- they just get painted that way by U.S. housing policy.

Westward Ho the Sandwich Boards

On April 7th, in Middletown, New York, Mayor Joseph DeStefano was found guilty of misdemeanor charges related to community development deals. DeStefano lied on ethics forms about his involvement with city businesses receiving HUD funds. Orange County Judge Stewart Rosenwasser tossed out more intensive conspiracy charges against DeStefano, the city's director of economic development and a city judge. State law requires DeStefano resign. But will he? On March 23rd, in Hudson County, New Jersey, X County Executive Robert Janiszewski gasped as his long delayed sentence for long time grafting turned out to be more time than expected. U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano didn't buy the claim by the defense-- and prosecutors-- that wire trapped Bobby was a brave whistle blower. In Monmouth County, where 14 public servants (so far) have been indicted in a federal corruption probe, a public hearing by the state Judiciary Committee is in the works. "When you have that many people in one county indicted it suggests the problem is pervasive" says State Senator John Adler of Camden. Camden. CAMDEN. Adler also wants to see if the State Attorney General's Office needs more resources. Some think an AG might prove helpful. Also in Jersey, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement has issued a subpoena to former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik. Info sought has to do with Kerik's dealings with allegedly mobbed up Frank and Peter DiTommaso of New Jersey based Interstate Industrial, Interstate Drywall, Interstate etc. Kerik's attorney has moved to quash. One of the lesser Sandwich Islands.

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

"Q: Who made the world? A: God made the world."

Baltimore Catechism, 1885

"No paradise is complete without its snake."

P.M. Hubbard, High Tide, 1970

Send comments or confidential tips to:

Mondo QT Home
Mission QT: Dig we must, In God we trust!
deep qt: Short Takes on Torrid Topics.
PEEP Magazine: The Art of Living - In Pictures!
QT Special Features: In Depth, Deeper Delvings.
On The QT: Everything You Always Suspected.
Links to Snappy Sites.
deep qt RSS Feed.
Who ya gonna call?
HomeOwners for Better Building
HomeOwners Against Deficient Dwellings
Fund for a Better Waterfront
Ed Mecka
Talking Politics
Hoboken Parks
IUOMA-Ruud Janssen
High Plains Films
kiyotei's den
Tom Devine's Baystate Objectivist
The Corzine Connection
Subscribe with myFeedster
Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Rate Me on Eatonweb Portal
bad enh so so good excellent


Copyright (c) 2005 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.

Mondo QT Home Mission QTOn The QT ArchivePEEP Magazinedeep qtQT Special FeaturesContactPrivacy Policy